Report | February 5, 2016

The Pre­-K to Workforce Pipeline in Washington State

Report shows investments in early education could save Washington over $3 million per year

Washington is facing a skills gap

In order to develop a highly­-skilled workforce to compete in the global marketplace, Washington State must focus on young children. Research shows that high­-quality public pre­-Kindergarten programs can help children arrive at school ready to learn and reduce the likelihood that they will be held back in school and eventually drop out.

Investments in high-quality pre-K would benefit the state’s economy

Washington state is spending over $11 million per year in additional costs for children repeating a year of kindergarten. If providing high­-quality pre­-K to Washington’s young children could cut the number of children held back in Kindergarten by even 25 percent, the state could save nearly $3 million every year.

High­-quality pre­-K has other short­ and long­-term benefits for young people and our economy, including improved math and reading scores, reduced need for special education, and better high school graduation rates.

Quality matters to reap the full benefits of early education

But to obtain these beneficial results, pre­-K must be high quality. Washington’s publicly funded state pre­-K, the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), meets several quality benchmarks.

However, there are other research­-supported elements that Washington should meet in order to reap the full benefits pre­-K can deliver. ReadyNation’s Washington State business leaders recognize that continually enhancing the quality of the state ECEAP pre­-K program and ensuring that more children have access to this quality program are solid investments in our state’s future economic success. By aspiring to be exemplary, Washington can achieve the full potential of early childhood education, reaping its benefits for our children and our state economy.


  1. Washington